CLYDE – Adriana Sanchez did not get off to an ideal start Wednesday afternoon.
But the Clyde sophomore more than made up for it.
After surrendering a two-run home run to just the second batter of the game, the Fliers’ pitcher never showed signs of being rattled. She regrouped herself in the circle, kept the Margaretta offense under wraps the rest of the afternoon and made her presence felt at the plate to lead Clyde to a 13-3, five-inning victory over the Polar Bears.
The win came just one week after Margaretta defeated Clyde 11-2, giving the Fliers motivation to redeem themselves against their Sandusky Bay Conference rival.
“We really wanted to come back, we knew that shouldn’t have happened and we were going to show them how we really are,” Sanchez said. “We had a lot of motivation. We may have underestimated them, like ‘Oh we have this,’ but now we really had the drive to beat them.”
Despite Clyde’s extra incentive, Margaretta got off to a fast start thanks to Kristen Yost’s two-run home run to give the Polar Bears an early lead.
Clyde, however, responded with a six-run inning in the bottom of the second to take command, 6-2, chasing Margaretta starting pitcher Lydia Harris, against whom the Fliers struggled in their loss to the Polar Bears last week.
“She knows how pitch, she makes you anxious and gets you on your front foot,” Clyde coach Marc Marshall said of Harris. “I thought we did a good job of staying back.”
Margaretta relief pitcher Karli Veliz entered the game in the third inning and, for a time, threw off the Fliers’ offense. Veliz retired five of the first six batters she faced and Margaretta got a run back in the top of the third inning to trim the deficit to 6-3.
But, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Maddie Montgomery singled to shallow left field before Sanchez drilled a Veliz pitch into deep left-center field for a two-run home run and an 8-3 lead.
“I just had a feeling when I went up there,” Sanchez said of her big at-bat. “She was throwing inside and I like inside pitches.”
Margaretta had a chance to recapture some momentum the next inning as Sanchez walked back-to-back batters to put two runners on base with one out. Sanchez, however, got a flyout and an inning-ending strikeout to preserve the five-run advantage.
“That was the turning point of the game,” Margaretta coach Scott Dickman said. “We had two runners on and couldn’t do anything with it. I think they hung their heads and away they went.”
Clyde then put the game away in the bottom half of the inning, scoring five runs on six hits, including an RBI double by Sanchez. Kennedy Arndt hit an RBI base hit, bringing Sanchez in to score and giving the Fliers their 10-run lead, ending the game two innings early.
Sanchez finished the day going 2-for-3 at the plate, with a home run, a double an RBI sacrifice fly and four RBIs. From the circle, she allowed seven hits and three walks in five innings with six strikeouts.
“When she hits her spots, she is a very good pitcher,” Marshall said of Sanchez. “The defense played well behind her. Hopefully we’re starting to find our stride here.”
Heidi Marshall and Montgomery each finished 3-4 with a pair of RBIs, Arndt also finished 3-4 with an RBI and Marissa Gill also had a pair of base hits as the Fliers improved their overall record to 7-8 with a 4-3 SBC record.
Aleaha Bailey and Yost each had two hits for the Polar Bears (12-7, 3-4).